Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images
Bayern Munich have reportedly joined Juventus in the pursuit of Manchester United forward Anthony Martial.
According to Gazzetta dello Sport (h/t the Mirror‘s Neil McLeman), Bayern are eyeing Martial as a long-term successor to wingers Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery, who are 34 and 35, respectively. Meanwhile, Juventus want the 22-year-old to replace Mario Mandzukic in Turin.
The Frenchman will soon enter the final year of his deal at Old Trafford, albeit the contract can be extended by a further 12 months, and United would target a fee in excess of €50 million (£43 million).
Martial’s absence from four consecutive matches—a run he broke with a substitute appearance against West Bromwich Albion on Sunday—has prompted rumours surrounding his future:
B/R Football @brfootball
Anthony Martial wants out of Old Trafford this summer, according to @mohamedbouhafsi https://t.co/z0eouMmkrA
He was also restricted to brief cameo appearances in both legs of United’s UEFA Champions League last-16 tie with Sevilla, despite the side’s struggle to score goals.
Red Devils boss Jose Mourinho has not given reassuring answers when questioned about Martial’s struggle for game time, either, per Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News:
Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst
Jose Mourinho says ‘there’s nothing I can do’ to change Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford’s lack of playing time at United. #mufc
Martial has struggled for consistency at Old Trafford since he arrived under Louis van Gaal, but Mourinho has been unable to oversee a significant improvement on that front in his two seasons in charge.
The youngster has bagged 11 goals and 10 assists in all competitions in this campaign, but he hasn’t found the back of the net since January.
Nevertheless, he’s an electric player when on form, and if he can maintain the high level he’s capable of throughout entire seasons, he’ll be a phenomenal talent.
Sports writers Liam Canning and Sam Pilger believe parting with him would be a grave error:
Liam Canning @LiamPaulCanning
The only player Manchester United should consider swapping Anthony Martial out for is Paulo Dybala. Otherwise keep him at all costs. Would be such a huge mistake selling him. The boy is full of talent.
Sam Pilger @sampilger
Allowing Anthony Martial to leave #MUFC would be the biggest mistake of Mourinho’s career. https://t.co/67o0WYKpgs
Given what he can accomplish with the right development, it’s of little surprise Bayern or Juve would jump at the chance to snap him up.
The German side have long needed players capable of filling the boots of Robben and Ribery, even if the ageing duo are still capable of contributing during their twilight years.
Selling him would be a puzzling decision from United’s perspective, but if they do allow him to leave, he’ll have plenty of top-level suitors to choose from.